All foreign visitors are required to have a China visa when entering Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) via China. (Except for Singaporean, Japanese & Mongolian citizens who don’t need a China Visa while the visit is no longer than 15 days in accordance with the treaty between them and China). Additionally, you will need a Tibet Travel Permit, which we will organize as part of our service. No China visa is required in advance if you go through Nepal and we will provide the Tibet Permit on arrival in Kathmandu.
If you have anything unclear or any questions about the visa & Tibet Travel Permit, please contact to our trip advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Considering the less developed tourism industry in Tibet as well as the need to protect its ethnic traditions, cultural relics etc, the Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) regulates that non-Chinese citizens, including foreign tourists, Taiwan tourists as well as overseas Chinese who already got the local passport must obtain Tibet Travel Permit (also known as Tibet Visa but actually not a visa) from TTB except a valid passport and China visa if they'd like to visit Tibet.
Tibet Travel Permit Categories:
There are three kinds of permits may be involved during your Tibet tour. The Tibet agency will be able to obtain you all necessary permits if you book a tour with them.? Here’s the types for the permits you may need:
1. Tibet Entry Permit (TTB permit) - which you have to obtain in order to enter Tibet before you get to Tibet. If you do not travel to closed or restricted areas but just have a few days in Lhasa area, you only have to obtain this permit.
If you are taking the train to Tibet, the permit copy should be fine, and please take at least 3 copies on to make sure if they will need it for a record. Most time the travel agency will fax or send to you at least 1 day before you start the tour, you may just need to print it out and take it along with you;
If taking the flights into Tibet, the original permit (physical one) will be checked when you change your boarding pass or pass the check-in counter. Usually the agency will need the exact address where you can get the permit 7 days prior the departure date. The hotel at the last stop city before Tibet would be perfect considering the time for delivering the permit from Lhasa.(This does NOT apply to the one who are taking the flights from Kathmandu to Lhasa; the tour guide will hold the original permit waiting at the airport instead.)
2. Aliens' Travel Permit (PSB permit) - which we have to obtain for you when you are planning to travel to the closed areas in Tibet, such as Mt. Everest, Nagri, Sayka, Tsedang and etc.
3. Tibet Military Permit - which we have to obtain for you if you are planning to travel to some military sensitive areas, such as Nagri, Nyingchi or some places through the overland tour to Lhasa from Chengdu or Yunnan or Xining. It takes 1-2 weeks to obtain this permit, so if you want to travel to places like those, it will be best to plan the trip 30 days prior the departure date at least.
Note: The permit situation is subject to rapid and unpredictable change. Contact us directly to get the current situation at once.
How to apply for a Tibet Entry Permit?
If you are planning to enter Tibet from other places of China, you can claim for the Tibet Entry Permit from your travel agent. Please prepare the following documents for the permit application.
- Valid passport copy
- Valid China visa copy
Note: The occupation is needed to distinguish from the diplomats, journalists, and government officials. They will apply the permit under the arrangement by the Foreign Affairs Office of Tibet Government. If you are holding the residence permit, work permit, Student ID in China, your work certificate copy or expert certificate copy or ID copy will be needed ( the one to show you are working/studying in China is okay).
How to apply for the Aliens' Travel Permit?Important Issues about Tibet Permit
Your guide will assist you in applying for it after you enter Tibet when it is needed. The original passport, China visa and the Tibet Entry Permit need to be submitted to the Foreign Affairs Section of Public Security Bureau. It normally takes 1-2 hours.
- All tourists can get Tibet Entry Permit through a travel agency except diplomats, journalists, and government officials who should travel to Tibet under the arrangement by the Foreign Affairs Office of Tibet Government.
- The travel agency will only help you to apply the permit unless you book a tour guide with them. None travel agencies can provide ‘permit only’ service.
- Only the tour guide can take the original TTB permit in Tibet, so after flying into Lhasa, you will be kindly requested to pass the original TTB permit to your tour guide. The tour guide will help you to get through the check-points and help you to apply the PSB permits with TTB permit.
- The places you are going to visit will be listed on the permit that you will need to be accompanied by your tour guide during the visit to the monasteries and temples. If you are going to the places, further closed sites or the one NOT mentioned on the permit alone, you may be stopped by the police and have trouble politically and economically. Furthermore, the travel agency which helped to get you the permit will also be in trouble.
- Aliens' Travel Permit (PSB permit) will be applied after you arriving in Tibet. Eg: if you are planning to go to EBC, you will apply the PSB at Shigatse with the help of your tour guide.
- Generally, it needs 3-5 working days to get the Tibet permit with the full documents supplied and another 3-5 days to deliver the permit. You will be suggested to present all the documents 15 days prior the departure date of your tour.